Original Photo by: tiffanyhawk
When I was around 9 years old, I went on a family trip to Cambodia. Cambodia wasn’t my first time traveling outside the country, but it was by far the most impoverished and least developed. At the time, we stayed at my grandparents’ house, and by no means was it a house like back in the States. It was the first time I experienced no running water, no air conditioning, no bathrooms, inconsistent electricity, or any other basic luxuries. Taking a shower was the worst. We had to extract water from a well, which of course was ice cold. Needless to say, my showers lasted less than a minute. The saddest thing of all was that our living situation was considered the 1%. The majority of the country’s people were homeless, sleeping in tents or on the streets. Everyone, including children, had their ribs showing. My family donated a few tons of rice to the local community as an effort to ease the situation. Hundreds of families lined up to grab a bag of rice and those images are still crystal clear to me today.
I’m so thankful for experiencing those moments at a young age; it truly taught me to value my life and really made me appreciate living in America. Once we landed back in the United States, there was a line at customs for American Citizens and another for Visitors. I couldn’t help but feel this great pride and enthusiasm as I walked towards the citizen line. To this day, I still feel the exact same way every time I walk into that line. I know this country has done a lot of wrong, but it’s done a lot more right.
Here’s a few post that may give you an American erection (just an expression), source: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/32xyr1/okay_whats_right_with_america/
“All over Reddit, I see a lot of self-hating Americans and smug Europeans, so allow me to get this off my chest: I was born and raised in Europe (Switzerland). It’s a perfectly fine country in its own right, and I (personally!) believe it’s one of the best countries in Europe for sure. With that being said, my life changed when I discovered America.
I remember going to the US when I was younger and being amazed at everything I could buy. Everything was so cheap. Not only that, but there was EVERYTHING. Capitalism in the US has created a culture where if you want to sell sweaters for cats, YOU FUCKING CAN. THERE’S A MARKET FOR THAT. I remember flipping a shit when I opened my first SkyMall magazine. America had everything, and I was in shock. I don’t think it’s clear just how excited places like costco made me.
But that wasn’t all.
In my home country, there’s always been this sense of self-defeatism, in the sense that people are extremely realistic and at times pessimistic, a bit like people on Reddit. You essentially come to terms with the idea that nothing extraordinary will happen to you, sort of, it’s hard to explain. But arriving in America made me realize how different the American spirit is. They were dreamers. The boldest people I had ever met. It was absolutely amazing. Americans aren’t afraid of the impossible, they see it as just another obstacle to surmount. They have this confidence that, while it may lead to mistakes, also leads to the extraordinary, and makes the world go “holy shit that’s incredible.” And in a way, this all makes sense; the people who are today Americans were those who had to tame an entire landscape and survive. They were rugged pioneers and people who clung on to their dreams. This is something that is still see in the American DNA today, and I love it. If you have an insane idea that may change the world, and you believe in it, America is your land. It is the home of the dreamers and shakers. The wildest, most independent minds who refuse to just accept things as is.
And then there’s the whole pride thing.
Americans are SO PROUD of being part of this wonderful experiment and nation that is the United States. American flags everywhere, people saying “God bless America”, and a lot more. It’s amazing. People love and defend this country, and not only that, but to Americans, America IS NOT the government, IT IS THE PEOPLE. In America, pride for this nation isn’t a backing of the government, but it is instead a celebration of the values and ideals set forth by its people and creators. The result being people across the political aisle and of all race and age backing this great country. And it is all so refreshing, to see people so proud of the nation that they have built over nearly 250 years. The best part? Anyone can be an American. “Oh you’re a refugee from south vietnam who barely speaks any english? Welcome to America, my fellow American.”
Then there’s the people. In America I have met friends and people who I never thought existed. Americans were so warm, so friendly, and insanely chill. Don’t even get me started on what my first christmas in America was like. That’s a wall of text of its own. Point being that Americans may get a bad rep, but my god are they friendly, and I have never felt so blessed when realizing all the good people in my life that I have as a result of coming to this amazing country. Thank you so much for that, America.
And then the technology. America, I love you so much. You put a man on the fucking moon. That really should be the end of me trying to convince how insane America is at technology. But why not throw in the internet, the computer, the TRANSISTOR, the first mass produceable car, and so much more.
Then we have the nature. Oh my god. Is there a more geographically diverse country? Let’s see:
-The beautiful waves and beaches of Hawaii
-The tundra of Alaska
-The forests of WA, OR, and California
-The desserts of the west
-The BEAUTIFUL southwestern scenery of the grand canyon
-The great plains of the midwest
-The bayou of Louisiana and the swamps of the south
-The mountains of Colorado and the Rockies
-The beautiful great lakes
-The dazzling American city skylines of New York and Chicago
I am still in awe at how beautiful this country is. Absolutely gorgeous. Also things that are incredible, but it’s going to take too long at this rate:
-Restaurant chains like BWW or Chili’s
-Fighting for good in WWII (inb4 revisionist history)
-The hot babes, so many hot babes
-HOW BIG THE COUNTRY IS. ALL THIS ROOM FOR FREEDOM.
-All the awesome companies
-The fact that every house has a trampoline and pool it seems
-How everyone does sports
-How no one smokes
-How you still have the freedom to smoke if you feel like it because you have RIGHTS
-How much people love their pets
-30 Rock (My personal input, not from the original post: All of the entertainment. There is almost no other country that has produced more award winning actors, tv shows, movies and so on. Even the music industry has revolutionized the way the world listens to music because of all the famous genres and bands developed right here on American soil)
This is probably horribly written. But America. I love you so much. You’ve made a lot of mistakes, but you’ve also done incredible things.”
“Brit here who tried his first Five Guys burger the other day, fucking thank you for inventing such a wonderful thing. But on the other hand, fuck you for letting me get addicted to grape soda and having nowhere else to buy it but there.”
Great prices on consumer goods
We copied your Bill of Rights
Best cultural exports (movies, shows, games). We’re all wearing your bluejeans and drinking your soda. You won the cultural victory.
We’re polite, but you guys are downright friendly
Your roads are fucking amazing. I don’t think you realize how great they are. Especially the highway system. It’s humbling.
Best goddamn fast food/junk food on the planet. I buy that stuff in bulk and cross the border with as much as I legally can when I visit
Willingness to be self-critical. I know there’s a perception that Americans are all about the exceptionalism, but in my experience you’re a lot more open to owning and exploring the darker parts of your history than most nations.”